Remember those flat pieces of u-shaped plastic attached to your bread bags? They’re called Bread Clips and often show the price and expiry date of your bread. But did you ever wonder how the nifty clip was invented?
Floyd G. Paxton invented the bread clip while he was on a flight home in 1952. He opened a bag of peanuts and realized he had no way of closing it. He found an expired credit card in his wallet and carved the first bread clip with a small penknife.
What Are Bread Clips For?
The bread clip is used to keep plastic packaging closed. These are often seen on sliced bread. They are also known as bread tags, bread ties, bread tabs, bread buckles, and bread bag clips. The bread clips help keep the contents of the back fresher longer. Some manufacturers even color-code their bread tags to indicate when the bread was baked. There is no universal color code used, but the practice is commonly observed. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
What Are Bread Clips Made Of?
Bread clips are made with polystyrene, but some manufacturers make them in cardboard to be more eco-friendly. There are two kinds of design for the bread clips: the simple design we are familiar with and the more complex and mechanical design involving two plastic parts mounted with a spring in between for tension. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
The History of Bread Clips
Floyd G. Paxton founded the Kwik Lok Corporation in Yakima, Washington, after creating the bread clip. Kwik Lok clips are called Kwik Lok closures.
Paxton invented the clip while he was flying home in 1952. He opened a bag of peanuts and realized he couldn’t re-seal the bag. He rummaged through his things and found an expired credit card in his wallet. He proceeded to carve the iconic u-shaped clip with a small penknife.
Pacific Fruit wanted to replace rubber bands from their packaging, and Paxton re-called his bag of peanuts. He made another clip with plexiglass, and the next thing he knew, Pacific Fruit placed an order for a million clips. Paxton then designed a die-cut machine to help make clips faster. Unfortunately, Paxton never got a patent for his invention despite repeated attempts. He did, however, receive numerous patents for this machine that helped cut the bread clips.
By the 1950s, bread clips were in such high demand as they had replaced the wire closures initially used for bread. This pushed manufacturers to develop better ways to make the clips faster that did not cost as much. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
Does Kwik Lok Make Most fo the Bread Clips?
The bread clips have been made by Kwik Lok ever since Paxton massed produced the clips for Pacific Fruit in 1954. Leigh Anne Whathen, the sales coordinator for Kwik Lok, says they produce billions of bread clips in a year. Paxton’s simple invention revolutionized how food is packed, eliminating the twist ties that did not last as long.
Kwik Lok remains to be one of the only manufacturers of bread clips with factories in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Ireland. (Source: Atlas Obscura)